a guitarist's occasional blog
"It's been a happy Thanksgiving, and I'm feeling fine. I've got a belly full of turkey and a head full of wine. I grab one for the road, and I head out to the shopping mall!" ~ from "Black Friday Stomp"
Here is an original song that you might enjoy adding to your gig this coming weekend. It's a little bit of satire on the upcoming holiday shopping madness.
"Black Friday Stomp" appears on my A Whisper in this Town CD. I was inspired to write this while reading Steve Goodman: Facing the Music by Clay Eals. The biography reminded me of the need for adding more variety (humor!) to my own set when performing. I also have a companion song called "Fourth of July: Made in China" that will likely get me in some trouble down the road!
This one is fairly easy and straightforward. Strum quarter notes aggressively and throw in occasional upstrokes. When I play it, I add a capo to the third fret. This puts the song in Eb instead of C. Perform it in whatever key works best for your voice.
The "G7#5" chord means that you play a D# instead of a D in your G chord. The easiest way is to play ~ (fret/string) 3/6, x/5, 3/4, 4/3, 4/2, x/1. "x" means to deaden the string. Otherwise, you're just pounding out cowboy chords.
A Whisper in this Town on iTunes
"South Branch" is an original fingerstyle composition of mine that uses a unique altered tuning. I've recorded "South Branch" on my latest CD, A Whisper in this Town. This isn't nearly as difficult as people sometimes think it might be. I'm not a virtuoso fingerstyle guitar player; I'm more a singer/songwriter who is being opportunistic by exploiting an open tuning.
The key to this piece is to tune your strings (lowest to highest) D - G - D - F# - A - D. This is similar to open D tuning, but in this case you lower your 5th string from "A" to "G".
The transcription is an approximation. I tend to perform this piece a little differently each time I play it. For example, the harmonics I use as an intro were added after I had transcribed the tune. I have included a video performance of this piece that might be of some use to you as you try to learn it.
In the video, I perform this on a very nice Bourgeois Vintage OM that I no longer own. On the recording, I use my favorite little guitar. It's an unheralded Martin 00C-16DBRE that has had the electronics torn out of it. Compared to the Bourgeois and some other instruments I have had my hands on, the Martin isn't a fancy guitar. But if I could keep only one instrument, this little guitar would be it!
I would love to hear from anyone who tries to learn to play this piece! There are plenty of you who could perform this better than I am able to manage it.
Chuck Cheesman writes hopeful, loving, and sometimes funny songs for people of all ages.
All materials ©℗ Chuck Cheesman
Banner photo by Gina Dazzo